Men In Pain (Two Films About…)

The World’s End ** (out of five)

The-Worlds-End-poster-3storyAfter game-changer Shawn of the Dead and the riotously funny Hot Fuzz, The World’s End, the latest from writers Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, directed by Wright, and starring Pegg and Nick Frost, is a serious misfire, unfunny, unexciting, uninvolving and, perhaps the worst sin of all, incredibly self-indulgent to the detriment of the audience’s enjoyment.

Pegg plays Gary King, who rocked in high school – or at least managed to be a bit of a leader – but is now forty years old and a big loser. To regain some sense of himself, he reassembles four of his old school chums in an effort to complete a twelve-pub-crawl that they tried, and failed, to do in their final school year. Along the way, they encounter alien replicants bent on world domination.67859

Shawn of the Dead was a zombie spoof that also managed to have some zombie survival thrills; Hot Fuzz was a cop-buddy movie spoof that also had some amazing cop action sequences. The World’s End takes on the lesser “aliens amongst us” genre – think Invasion of the Body Snatchers – but then, rather than revel in the conventions of the genre as the other films did, instead devolves into a kick-socky action flick that’s repetitive and, tragically, boring.

Gary is a truly unlikeable character, which makes the first act painful to sit through; the second act, which adheres most closely to the body snatcher mold, is the most fun, with our heroes continuing towards The World’s End as the world ends. But the last act is worse than the first, lazily scripted, ludicrous, and puzzling in a bad way.

Greetings from Tim Buckley ***1/2 (out of five)

Greetings-from-Tim-Buckley_PosterDaniel Algrant’s curio Greetings from Tim Buckley will appeal to fans of Jeff Buckley, fans of Tim Buckley, musicians, admirers of music makers, Brooklynphiles, and the general public in that order. It’s a love letter to two men and their music, honest and passionate in its intentions, if slow and meandering in its execution, but with a powerful emotional resolution.large_large_greetings_from_tim_buckley_1

In 1991, Jeff Buckley (Penn Badgley) travels from his home in California to Brooklyn to perform in a tribute concert to his Dad (whom he only met twice), celebrated musician Tim Buckley, who died at age 28; simultaneously, in 1966, Tim travels from California to Manhattan to play a couple of gigs. Jeff meets a girl (the amazing Imogen Poots); Tim dodges Jeff’s mother. Music must be the rope of reconciliation.

large_greetings_from_tim_buckley_3Almost experimental in its approach (and the most distilled possible version of a “biopic”, examining about four days in its subject’s life), it’s a quiet movie of small rewards, made by a whole lot of talented people taking a risk and pulling it off with humble aplomb.

3 thoughts on “Men In Pain (Two Films About…)

  1. Pegg’s performance as a once and failed “King” was arguably one of his better characters. To take a recovering alcoholic that can’t forget his better years and make him the hero of the film to cheer for is a feat in and of itself. The supporting cast is phenomenal (Rosamund Pike isn’t relegated to a damsel in distress–she gets her hands dirty as well in the fights) and to have good character development in the midst of an alien invasion as they run all over town says a lot of Pegg and Wright’s script. Even the final showdown had some brilliant, if tragic logic about the human race.
    More surprisingly was the conclusion–not the happiest of endings, but allows redemption of Gary and what he needed most.

  2. I don’t see how you can find World’s End unfunny or poorly scripted. It was by far the tightest of the three Pegg/Wright films, and the first third was especially well-written.

  3. Normally I see eye to eye with your reviews, but can’t agree with this one. World’s End was wonderful. The first half was both humorous and sad. The latter half was simply a riot, in the best possible way.

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